Undocumented workers at Charlottesville’s Trump winery fired; Marion celebrates the new year by throwing a fake possum off a roof and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “House Speaker-elect Eileen Filler-Corn is stepping down from her job at an Arlington County-based lobbying and consulting firm, helping to alleviate the potential for conflicts of interest as she prepares for the leadership role.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Fairfax County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, will allow students one excused absence per year for “civic engagement activities” including marches, sit-ins and trips to lobby lawmakers.—The Washington Post

• After the Trump administration made many bird conservation efforts voluntary, Virginia dropped plans to build a sanctuary island for 25,000 gulls, black skimmers and royal terns whose nesting grounds would be plowed under by new bridge construction in Hampton Roads. State officials say there is no connection, but environmentalists say plans changed suddenly under the new rules.—The New York Times

• “Nearly a year after the Trump Organization pledged to root out undocumented workers at its properties, supervisors at the Trump Winery (in Charlottesville) on Monday summoned at least seven employees and fired them because of their lack of legal immigration status.”—The Washington Post

• Court records show a state law aimed at helping tenants facing eviction has been routinely ignored by landlords and the courts. The new rule limits the amount of time landlords have to execute an eviction after winning a court case to 180 days.—Daily Press

• A UVA law professor contends General Assembly lawmakers’ practice of appointing themselves to certain policy boards is “clearly unconstitutional.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, is leading a legislative push for paid family medical leave.—Daily Press

• President Donald Trump signed Sen. Mark Warner’s anti-robocall legislation.—Daily Press

• Virginia Democrats still sound uncertain about the ongoing push to establish a bipartisan redistricting commission via constitutional amendment. Supporters of the amendment argue flaws could be addressed with the enabling legislation.—The Washington Post

• “The Fredericksburg Branch of the NAACP is boycotting two businesses seeking to halt removal of the city’s controversial slave auction block.”—The Free Lance-Star

• Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, proposed legislation that would define milk as coming from a “healthy hooved mammal” in response to an influx of plant and nut-based beverages. “Some people maybe are capitalizing on the good name of milk,” he said.—The Virginian-Pilot

• The town of Marion kicked off the new year by throwing a papier mache possum off a rooftop. “I wanted to come up with something that made sense for our area,” said the organizer. “As it happened there was a possum crossing the road.”—Smyth County News & Messenger

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